Skype for Android adds Cortana support for chat suggestions and more

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Microsoft is starting to roll out Cortana inside of Skype, letting its smart assistant jump into private and group chats to offer assistance in making plans and looking up information.

Microsoft's assistant will also be listed as a contact in Skype.

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Cortana appears within Skype in two ways.

"With Cortana, we've added a powerful, intelligent assistant to help you with your everyday tasks right where you are and save you time".

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This Cortana integration was announced more than a year and a half ago, and it's not totally clear what accounts for the long delay.

To be fair, the context-sensitive snippets Cortana will provide in chats sound quite useful in some respects, such as offering suggestions for short smart replies ('yes", "no", "let's go') in order to help you make quick responses in chats. If you've ever used Google's Allo app, you'll know what it's all about. If you have something on your schedule that you are chatting about with a friend in Skype, Cortana can also recommend setting up a reminder for that event. Microsoft's not doing anything innovative by adding Cortana to Skype, instead merely consolidating its position as a participant in consumer AI. "So now, you can have natural conversations in one-on-one chats with Cortana".

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While it seems like it's now becoming table stakes to include an A.I. -powered assistant in mobile messaging apps, the real-world benefits of these integrations for end users are still a bit unproven. And on multiple occasions, I've had to explain what those "dumb little icons" are that are getting in the way during a Facebook Messenger-based chat session. The artificial intelligence assistant has been added to Android and iOS devices. Cortana will be available on both iOS and Android, but Microsoft says its assistant "will be gradually rolled out" starting in the U.S., so you might not have access yet.

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